'Roadkill Bill' Lets Motorists Salvage Fur, Food from IL Highways

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By Andrew Chow, Esq. on January 10, 2012 12:09 PM

Some motorists in Illinois no longer have to make a run to the supermarket to get some grub. Thanks to a new "roadkill bill," they can just cook the carcass of whatever animal they run over.

Illinois' so-called "roadkill bill" took effect in October, the Huffington Post reports. The law allows anyone with a furbearer license to salvage roadkill for pelts or food.

With the roadkill bill now in effect, Illinois joins more than a dozen other states that explicitly allow citizens to collect and eat roadkill -- though some other states limit their law's application to larger animals like deer or bears, the Post reports.

A state lawmaker pushed for the roadkill bill as a way for Illinoisans to cash in on dead animal pelts that would otherwise rot on the streets. (Illinois' governor vetoed the first version of the bill, because he feared people could get run over while trying to collect roadkill.)

Wild animal pelts are big business in Illinois, where raccoon and muskrat furs brought in $1.2 million in 2010, the Post reports. But pelts aren't always suitable when they're taken from roadkill.

That's why some salvagers turn roadkill into dinner, with raccoon among the more popular roadkill delicacies, an Illinois state biologist told the Post. The state urges roadkill collectors to wear gloves and protective glasses when handling roadkill.

Roadkill meat should also be cooked to an internal temperature of at least 160 degrees to kill bacteria, the Post reports.

Aside from Illinois, a roadkill bill is also being considered in Idaho, where a state lawmaker decided to act after a bobcat was struck and killed on a road near his home. "To be able not to grab it was kind of stupid. Why let it go to waste?" the lawmaker said.

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